ILS Law College, Pune, is holding a national conference, titled “Revising Freedom of Religion and Personal Laws from Liberty and Equality Perspectives”, on the 13th and 14th of September. Here is a brief description:

“This conference is a very timely call against the background of renewed insistence for enactment of uniform civil code by the politicians and activists, pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Vishwa Lochan Madan v. Union of India holding Shariat courts, Fatwas and Dar-ul-Qazas not to be unconstitutional , row over establishment of SGPC between the governments of Punjab and Haryana, communal tensions over use of loud speakers during the month of holy Ramadan and political blame game over rehabilitation of riot victims. It is also trite to take cognize of difference of opinion in the civil society and political class on Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011. It is also apt to challenge the disturbing demands made by some quarters to legitimize khap panchayats. We also take note of a referral order passed by the Supreme Court in A. Ramaswamy Dikshitulu v. Government of Andhra Pradesh (2004) 4 SCC 661 in which the court expresses skepticism about the correctness of earlier decisions of the Supreme Court and referred the matter to a larger bench. The review by the larger bench is awaited. It is also immensely important to take note of sharp divergence in the opinions amongst High Courts and even among the different benches of Supreme Court. We would particularly refer to the  following judgments-

  • Re, Smt Amina; AIR 1992 Bom 214
  • Saumya Ann Thomas v. Union of India 2010 (1) KLT 869
  • Daniel Latiffi v. Union of India AIR 2001 SC 3958
  • Ahmedabad Women Action Group(AWAG) v. Union of India (1997)3 SCC 573
  • Kalawati L.A.A. No. 650/08 and CM No. 9226/08 dated 27/1/09.

It is also vital to highlight antinomies, contradictions and paradoxes in the textual and judicial discourse on freedom of religion under Indian Constitution. In this connection, a pointed reference may be made to asymmetrical relationship of Articles 13 and 25 with Articles 290 A, 371 A and 371 G. What role is conceived for the State in protecting and enforcing freedom of religion of ‘every person on the territory of India’ and of religious denominations is also doubtful in the light of contradictory pronouncements of Supreme Court. In this connection, of particular significance is divergence of opinion between Justice Mukherjee in early 1950s and Justice K. Ramaswamy. We hope this backdrop would stimulate generation of creative and original ideas and provide for a meaningful understanding on constitutional dimensions of religious freedom.”

The schedule and invitation may be downloaded here.